August 1, 2002
Carolina in the News
Here is a sampling of links and notes about Carolina people
and programs cited recently in the international and national media:
Current National Coverage
Anemone of the Smart People
In a rock pool filled with greenish water, a sea creature unfurls its tentacles as
daylight dawns. "If you stick your hand in, it startles," says MIT Media Lab researcher
Josh Strickon... Researchers from the University of North Carolina and other
universities used head-mounted displays, earphones and other equipment to give
participants the illusion that they were walking and picking up items in a house...
"A few people with severe fear of heights couldn't even step in the room," said North
Carolina professor Mary Whitton.
In PE, don't just stand there -- do something
The Miami Herald
Just because your children's school schedule includes regular sessions of physical
education doesn't mean they derive any health benefits from them. Not unless they
actually do some exercise, rather than stand around for most of the hour, as many
kids do... Faculty at the University of North Carolina who conducted the study say
that their results underscore the value of vigorous exercise early in life in combating
hypertension, a chronic and debilitating disease that often surfaces in childhood and
worsens in adulthood.
(Note: This story originated as a UNC news release. Other
coverage known to date includes the Houston Chronicle.)
Wrongheaded views entangle righteous idea (Commentary)
So I'm listening to a talk-radio show on my headphones. And even though I'm not
catching every last word because I'm out for a jog and I'm distracted by traffic,
dogs and pedestrians, I'm liking what I'm hearing. The guest is a lawyer whose
organization has filed suit against a public school because the school is asking
students to read scripture in a context that he argues is not appropriately educational...
The suit is against the University of North Carolina, a state school that this summer
has assigned incoming freshmen to read a book of 35 excerpts from the Koran.
Cheney offers reassurances to Iowans
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
Vice President Dick Cheney told Republicans here Monday to have faith that the
federal government will doggedly investigate corporate accounting scandals, as
Qwest Communications became the latest big corporation to announce it had
overstated revenue... University of North Carolina political science professor
George Rabinowitz said he'll be surprised if Cheney is Bush's running mate in 2004.
Teachers work to make math a favorite activity
The Herald-Dispatch (West Virginia)
Working math problems may not be first on your own list of fun activities, but
teachers in Cabell County’s public schools are working hard to change that for your
children. As a matter of fact, when you enter their summer classroom, you might hear
applause, cheering, and a great deal of scattering about... Their instructor, Marilyn
Preddy, a faculty member at the University of North Carolina and consultant with
the National Training Network, asked them to predict, with ten throws each, how
many baskets they thought they could make.
Driver phone ban not on Ohio Agenda
The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
Despite a fatal crash that the State Highway Patrol says was caused by a driver
fumbling for a cellphone, an Ohio lawmaker said she sees little hope for legislation
limiting the use of phones in cars... The New England Journal of Medicine in 1997
found the risk of an accident was four times higher while using a cellphone. But
researchers at the University of North Carolina found that cellphones were responsible
for 1.5 percent of "distracted-driver'' crashes.
(Note: The Columbus Dispatch requires free registration to access articles.)
National News Notes
The MSNBC television program, "Buchanan and Press," featured a debate segment
about UNC's summer reading program on Tuesday (July 30). To read the transcript,
please visit http://www.msnbc.com/news/788362.asp and scroll down the page.
The Daily Illini, a student publication from the University of Illinois, also featured a
positive editorial on Tuesday (July 30) about the same subject. The Times of London also
ran a short one-paragraph brief about the pending lawsuit based on wire-service report on
July 27. To view this brief, please go to
State and Local Coverage
House panel votes to keep airport open
A proposed House budget provision would stop UNC-Chapel Hill's move to close
Horace Williams Airport as part of its plan to build a major research campus in northern
Study of Quran falls well within UNC's mission (Editorial)
Greensboro News & Record
This learning thing has got to stop - it might change people's minds. That, in a nutshell,
is the position of three unnamed students and their Virginia backers who want a court
to stop incoming UNC- Chapel Hill freshmen from reading a book about Islam...
(Note: The Greensboro News and Record does not include all editorials online. To
view the entire editorial, please scroll down to the bottom of today's edition of
Carolina in the News.)
Public schools not religion-free (Letter to the Editor)
EDITOR: Kudos to Chancellor James Moeser of UNC-Chapel Hill for defending the
reading of Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations. I hope he sticks to his
requirement. If it comes to court, so be it...
UNC must honor right to object (Editorial)
From Chancellor James Moeser on down, UNC Chapel Hill has been atwitter about
this year’s summer reading requirement for freshmen, “Approaching the Qu’ran: The
Early Revelations.” Because the book examines 35 passages in the Qu’ran, selectively
so in the judgment of some critics, it has blown up a storm of protest from conservative
Christians along with a lawsuit seeking to have the reading requirement rescinded.
Book on Quran is badly skewed (Letter to the Editor)
Greensboro News and Record
Your support of liberal and mindless courses reached a new high in your editorial of July
25 ("Study of Quran falls well within UNC's mission")...
Retirees' care needs a cure (Opinion-Editorial Column)
Benjamin Franklin once said that life's great tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise
too late. As the first generation of the baby boom approaches retirement, our nation is
very close to proving Franklin right...
(Note: William L. Roper is dean of the School of Public Health at UNC.)
Facing darkness together (Commentary)
It was more than sympathy that kept the nation praying for the nine trapped Pennsylvania
coal miners last week. It was, in part, the gut-wrenching recognition that being buried
alive is about as bad as it gets... "Don't put money on what they're saying now," Dr. R.
Reid Wilson, a clinical psychologist at UNC-Chapel Hill who specializes in anxiety
disorders, said Monday. "They're feeling the acute aspects of the experience now, but
that will fade.
(Note: News Services helped connect Wilson with the columnist.)
A new degree of pressure
Mistakes, Thomas "T.J." Gilmore admits, he's made a few: classes that don't count
toward his degree, hours spent working to pay for a car instead of studying, too many
visits to his hometown, Charlotte, to see his old girlfriend... In North Carolina, only
UNC-Chapel Hill rivals the private colleges in graduation rates, with 69.4 percent of its
students earning a bachelor's degree within four years.
Principled funds sought (Question-Answer Transcript)
In the five years since Dick Baddour was appointed athletics director at the University
of North Carolina, he has seen momentous changes. Two basketball coaches, Dean
Smith and Bill Guthridge, have retired. One football coach, Mack Brown, has gone to
Texas, and his successor, Carl Torbush, has been fired and replaced by John Bunting.
Diane Collins, 38, of Winston-Salem won three medals at the 2002 U.S. Transplant
Games at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida held June 25-29. Collins,
who had a liver transplant at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in 1996,
had never run a race before she agreed to compete in the games.
(Note: Collins' achievement was the subject of a recent UNC Health Care release:
Reinvent yourself – we dare you! Daydreaming about a new career? Nightmaring about
your current job? We'll take an educated guess that education – formal or informal,
creative or technical, volunteer or experiential – will all add up to boost your ego, income
and state of mind. Our successful career changers will inspire you to fearlessly bridge
that dramatic gap between who you are and who you want to be... Diane Lambeth
has flourished in three very different careers, all with a vital component in common.
She is always and in all ways dedicated to "making a difference in someone's life by
giving them ways to develop self-confidence." After receiving her master's degree
from UNC-Chapel Hill's School of Social Work, she counseled individuals and
Issues and Trends Affecting Carolina
Out-of-State Students Help States Financially, Study Finds
The Chronicle of Higher Education
At a time when legislators and public universities are pushing to increase tuition rates for
students from out of state, a study suggests that out-of-state students are actually the
ones who will most help state governments after graduation.
(Note: The Chronicle of Higher Education requires a subscription to access articles.)
'Extra' money sparks dispute
House budget writers think they've found $125 million to close most of the remaining
gap in a budget that was due one month ago. But Gov. Mike Easley says: Hands off.
State House budget leaders also want to spend another $80 million -- which they don't
have yet, and which Easley didn't propose -- to give a 1.5 percent pay raise to state
UNC schools' tuition increase probed
The average debt of a senior at East Carolina University is about $16,600, and 39
percent of students graduate with debt characterized as "unmanageable," school
officials say... UNC system students pay, on average, an additional $7,314 each
year for room, board, books and other supplies, Brooks said.
(Note: This Associated Press story also appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal
FSU’s chancellor to resign
Dr. Willis McLeod on Wednesday announced his resignation as chancellor of
Fayetteville State University. He said he will leave FSU by July 1, 2003. McLeod
told university administrators, students, faculty and staff members during separate
Choices in College (Editorial)
Appalachian State University is making a smart move by joining other universities
that require freshmen to wait at least a semester to join fraternities or sororities... The
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C. State University and others that
don't have such a policy might consider adopting one.
Tuition to go up 10% at community colleges
Greensboro News & Record
Although the General Assembly hasn't voted on it, tuition at North Carolina's 58
community colleges will increase by 10 percent for the fall semester.
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Study of Quran falls well within UNC's Mission (Editorial)
Greensboro News & Record
This learning thing has got to stop - it might change people's minds.
That, in a nutshell, is the position of three unnamed students and their Virginia backers
who want a court to stop incoming UNC- Chapel Hill freshmen from reading a book
Reading the book, "Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations," prepares new
UNC-Chapel Hill students for August discussion groups. To address earlier complaints,
the university changed its rules so the offended can opt out via an essay explaining
The detractors say students have a right to willful ignorance. And so they're off to court.
Besides prejudging the subject matter, the lawsuit shows a basic misunderstanding of
the way higher education, civic discourse and the larger world work. College should
expose students to ideas outside their immediate realm of experience. Few who
manage to reach the university are so impressionable that mere discussion of differences
misshapes their malleable minds. And, yes, it is possible to study a religion without
endorsing it or proselytizing. Just ask any professor of religion at a state university.
The opt-out provision is a sensible compromise. Students who refuse to participate
in the community of learners owe some justification to their peers. This, too, becomes
a learning exercise when the conscientious objectors critique the work or activity in
question, injecting new viewpoints into the discussion. Then fellow students come
to respect diverse perspectives.
Last, the plaintiffs shouldn't forget that one in five people on earth is Islamic - including
some UNC students. The FBI and CIA have admitted to ignorance both of the languages
and cultural issues that might have enabled them to interpret warning signs presaging
9/11. Our military strategists are somewhat stymied by enemies unafraid of death -
which to us is the ultimate sanction. We wonder whether "martyrs" are an anomaly and
if their religious justifications stand up to scrutiny. And we rightfully hunger to know
more about the cultural context that gives rise to people who use Islam for violent
ends - and the people attracted to such interpretations.
What better institution to tackle these questions than the university?
Any exercise that starts to fill this yawning gap in our collective understanding should
be most welcome. Perhaps scholarly study of the Quran can equip today's students to
serve as better FBI and CIA agents, military leaders, state department staff, church
leaders, teachers, neighbors and world citizens tomorrow.